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Why I Let My Kids Eat More Ketchup

These days, it’s pretty common knowledge that condiments are “bad for you.” From mayonnaise to BBQ sauce, these dips can jump to our hips! Ketchup is no different. That is…unless you serve up the “good for you” kind.

Why I Let My Kids Eat More Ketchup #ketchup #fermented #realfood #condiments

Ketchup – The Bad for You Kind

So, what exactly is in ketchup and why is it so bad for you? Well, according to the Heinz website, the basic recipe contains high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient! The fourth? Corn syrup. The last ingredient? Natural flavoring.

“Oh, that doesn’t sound so bad,” you say.

Why I Let My Kids Eat Plenty of Ketchup #ketchup #fermented #realfood #condiments

Well it might not be too bad if it truly was “natural” flavoring. However, it is anything but natural. Natural flavorings are chemically altered and don’t resemble a natural flavor at all. In fact, some natural flavorings originate from…beaver butt!

This is sounding worse and worse, isn’t it? I mean, it wouldn’t be soooo bad if we all used condiments sparingly – as in, rarely! But let’s be honest. We use condiments a lot. This means that we’re stuffing our bodies full of HFCS, GMOs and who-knows-what on a daily basis. Maybe even all day, every day??

What if I told you could make a ketchup that was nutritious and delicious in less than 5 minutes?

Ketchup – The Good for You Kind

This recipe is so nutritious because of the real ingredients used but also because it is fermented. Ok, did I lose half of you? Stick with me. πŸ™‚

Fermented foods are incredibly beneficial to our bodies. Foods that undergo a fermentation process have allowed the natural bacteria to feed on the sugars and starches and create lactic acid. This acts as a natural preservative and creates healthy enzymes and probiotics which aid in digestion. Did I mention it also tastes delish? Seriously. I’d dip my McDonald’s french fries in a bucket of this anytime…oh, wait. πŸ˜‰

There’s really nothing to this recipe that I’ve adjusted a bit from the one I found at Gnowfglins. The hardest part? Giving it time to ferment before sneaking a spoonful from the jar. (Ask me how I know.)

And you can throw this together in just minutes. I timed it – less than 5 minutes and I was overseeing three toddlers getting dressed. Yes, I’m not sure I could have clipped coupons for a bottle of Heinz that easily. πŸ˜‰

So, really. You’ve gotta try this. I can’t imagine going back.

Homemade Fermented Ketchup

  • 12 ounces organic tomato paste (I use this)
  • 1/4 cup + 3 T water
  • 1/8 cup whey (you can use water if you don’t have whey)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar (I use this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (find online here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (lately I haven’t even had cinnamon on hand so I just increase the next two ingredients slightly and it’s still, well, you know)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves (find online here)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice (find online here)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (I don’t even use this much – and we love spicy foods – so try less at first; find online here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (find online here)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I use this maple syrup)

Place all ingredients in a quart sized mason jar (I big-pink-puffy-heart love these) and mix together. Cover it and leave it at room temperature for a couple days. And that’s pretty loose – just estimate and then enjoy your spoonfuls! Store in the fridge after your taste-test.

Oh, and if you like making condiments, try this Southwest Spicy Ranch Dressing!

Well, what do you think of lacto-fermented, homemade ketchup? What do you think the fam will say?


  1. So if you don’t have whey and you use water, do you still let it sit out a few days?

  2. My family cannot have dairy so I have the same question. Will it turn out the same if I don’t use whey?
    Also, do you know if the Kirkland tomato paste has citric acid? Some of us are sensitive to that, too.

  3. I hate ketchup, but my children don’t! I wonder if I could stand making it… so long as I don’t have to smell it too much, I think I could manage! πŸ™‚

    • You…hate ketchup? πŸ™‚ Is it tomatoes or the texture? So fascinating!! And you shouldn’t have to smell it at all. Seriously, less than 5 minutes. Make it and time it! πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve been making a similar recipe for a year or two, but with less variety of spice. You hit the nail on the head with this combo….not too vinegary, not too sweet, not too bland and just the right amount of spice. I’ll be using this again! Thanks! =)

    • P.S. I never do something EXACTLY, of course…forgot to say I added garlic, b/c we love it in ketchup. Here’s what I did with your great recipe, with very minor modifications…

      (3) bionatura tomato paste jars total 21 oz
      1/2 c water
      1/4 c whey
      1/4 c ACV
      1/2 t mustard powder
      1/2 t cinnamon
      1/4 t cloves
      1/4 t allspice
      1/4 t cayenne
      1 t salt, heaping
      1 clove garlic, pressed
      1/2 c maple

    • Thanks, Deah! How’d it turn out? πŸ™‚

  5. How long does the ketchup keep in the fridge once it is ready?

  6. Could I use juice from my kraut instead of whey? I don’t have any whey on hand, but want the benefits of the extra good bacteria and want to speed it up. Thoughts? Thanks!

  7. Have you ever tried canning this recipe? Was thinking about making a big batch to store some.

  8. Would it be ok to use tomato sauce instead of paste? And then leave out some of the water?

  9. Holy cow!! Thank you! I’ve made ketchup before and not been successful – this recipe is not only dead-easy and nutritious, but spot on!! Really, really, awesome. And btw, I made it with water, for those of you without whey or vegan. thanks again!

  10. thank you! i love this ketchup and love being able to feel good about giving it to the kids. For those who wonder; I do NOT use whey (vegan) and i do leave it out for a couple days (mind you, tastes great 2 seconds after making it too).


  11. Bethany M says

    Do you think picky eaters would like this ketchup?

  12. Does the vinegar kill the bacteria?

  13. I know this is super late but wondering what if I could substitute grey poupon for mustard powder and honey for maple syrup?I live in a country where the other ingredients aren’t readily available.


    • Hi Angela! I have never tried either substitution, but I believe you could. The grey poupon may require some adjustments to taste, so taste as you go! πŸ™‚ Honey – especially raw, local honey! – would be a superior substitution to maple syrup in my opinion, actually. There are so many benefits to honey that your ketchup will be rockin’ with nutrients. πŸ™‚ You’ll have to let me know how it goes!

  14. I know things don’t ferment if they’re not organic, but would this apply to the spices as well?

    • Hi Grace! Ferments can definitely take place with non-organic ingredients. Typically, though, if we are fermenting, we like to use those ingredients grown with/containing as few pesticides and non-organic ingredients as possible. I find fermented foods are worth the effort, so if I can’t afford an organic ingredient, I don’t let that stop me. πŸ™‚ I hope this helps!!

  15. I’m making my first batch, I mixed it up yesterday and checked it today and mold is growing…help!

  16. What is whey?

    • I’m so sorry for the delay, Sam! Whey is a byproduct of milk! It’s made by allowing the milk to sit out on the counter and sour, separating the solids from the liquids (or “Miss Mary Muffet’s curds and whey!” πŸ™‚ ). I hope that helps!!


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